January 2, 2024
Birch Bay, Washington
Sherlock Holmes makes the above elementary observation in A Study in Scarlet (1887) and this is the exact point that I would like to make this morning as we begin our New Year 2024.
Some critics of my now twenty-four-year investigations have dismissed them out-of-hand once they learned or were told that I went from accusing my father of committing “The 1947 Black Dahlia Murder” to then claiming he was also the 1968-9 “Zodiac Killer.” Those sensational crimes were then followed with my publication of The EarlyYears Part I (the 1920s) and Part II (the 1930s) attributing another two dozen potential serial crimes to his nearly fifty-year killing spree. (1921-1969)
Granted without reading the investigations (“the data”) and being unaware of his background and training, and just hearing the allegations by word of mouth, I too would likely dismiss Hodel’s “theories” out of hand. I would consider him “a troubled soul with a hyperactive imagination and some serious daddy issues.” I might even make a snarky remark something like, “Where’s he going next- to the grassy knoll in Dallas?”
Without rehashing points made in my Squad Room Blogs over the past fifteen-plus years, let me here simply emphasize that in all of the now fifty murders I have attributed to my father, George Hill Hodel, over the past fifty years, I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN LED BY AND FOLLOWED THE DATA–THE FACTS.
This is basic Homicide 101 and was true in every one of the more than three hundred (300) homicides I investigated during my 17-year-assignment at LAPD Hollywood Detectives THE FACTS LEAD YOU.
Here is a brief summary of how the FACTS (“data”) led me from BDA to FRENCH to DEGNAN to LALU to ZODIAC.
No need to represent my Black Dahlia investigation-the facts establishing Dr. George Hill Hodel was always the “prime suspect” and that LAPD and the LADA solved the case in 1950 are fully known. It never was “my theory”. I simply discovered their solution and made it public.
The facts in the 1949 LAPD/LADA Files indicating they suspected that the killer of the Black Dahlia might also be Chicago’s “Red Lipstick Murderer” led me to that investigation and its facts and subsequent linkage and discovery of George Hodel’s crime signature and M.O. of posing the bodies next to a street name as a “clew.”
The Facts- In 1945-6 the “Red Lipstick Murderer” in the kidnap of little Suzanne Degnan, age 6, her killer chose a bisection room in the basement of a street just two blocks from the kidnap location, named WINTHROP. (George Hodel was a “Ripperologist” and knew that one of his heroes, “Jack the Ripper” posed a victim’s body off that same street, “Winthrop” in the Ripper serial crimes). George Hodel then poses the Degnan body parts off a street named HOLLYWOOD. A year later, in 1947, GHH poses victim Elizabeth “Black Dahlia”Short’s body off the street named DEGNAN. That was followed in just three weeks by George Hodel posing a new victim’s body, Jeanne French, off a street named MOUNTAIN VIEW, which is the name of the cemetery where victim Elizabeth Short was buried just a few weeks prior. Finally, after fleeing the U.S. and reestablishing himself as a psychiatrist and Market Research expert residing in Manila, he commits the Lucila Lalu “Jigsaw Murder”, a kidnap surgical bisection, and poses her body just two miles from his home off a street named ZODIAC.
Forced to follow the facts, that pointed me to the unsolved serial crimes in 1968-69 San Francisco attributed to the serial killer known as ZODIAC.
Initially in checking out those crimes and seeing the “suspect was a much younger man in his Twenties or Thirties” I dismissed any possible connection. But, a few weeks later, I decided to look deeper which by following the facts, led me to discover the fact that the best witness description by SFPD officer Donald Fouke was documented in his SFPD Memo as a much older suspect with an age close to “45 years”. That led me to discover the fact the subsequent Zodiac witness composites were picture-perfect to George Hodel and my in-depth analysis of the thirty-two unique Crime Signatures and M.O. (see PDF) that became the ZODIAC investigation as presented in Most Evil I and Most Evil II.
Subsequent Zodiac Composite sketches from 1969 witness descriptions
Crime Signatures MO update Thirty-two (32) Identical Black Dahlia/Zodiac Crime Signature/MOs. (SKH Note- If a detective finds three or four identical unique signatures in comparing several unsolved murders they will focus on the possibility that the same suspect may have committed the crimes. Here we have thirty-two!) And here is a video presentation of the same:
THE BOTTOM LINE:
ALL OF MY INVESTIGATIONS HAVE BEEN FACT-DRIVEN AND NONE HAVE COME FROM, IN SHERLOCK HOLMES WORDS, “A THEORY TO FIT THE FACTS.”
Looking forward to an exciting 2024.